Sunday 22nd April @ Fakenham -

West Norfolk

2.00 Club Members (Veteran and Novice Riders) – 16 entries

Strong number of entries here, either of Tim Gredley’s entries, Just Cause or Magic Cowboy, are the obvious choices.  Just Cause has not run since a 5th in a Catterick Hunter Chase at start of March, before that he beat subsequent winner One Fine Morning at Higham.  Midnight Cowboy is a quality recruit to pointing but was given a lot to do at Higham and if ridden closer to the pace surely has a good chance.  Weather Warning was a surprise winner of the Ladies Open at this meeting last year; he is tough and could have his 7th run of the season here, his run at the first High Easter meeting would give him a squeak but last week’s run needs to be forgotten.  Viking Ridge improved from his seasonal reappearance to be 2nd at Brafield to Hellorboston who franked form by following up at Andoversford.  Kashmir Peak was an impressive winner at Horseheath in fastest time of the day but the opposition is stronger here.  Galros Lady and experienced jockey Andrew Pennock won the Ampton Hunt race run at a snails pace and disappointed at Higham when only 4th behind Nightscape and CaulkinClenagh Castle won a Maiden and Restricted for top jockey Will Biddick last season but only got to the first at Higham and might be best watched.  Another with form but returning from along absence is Icthec, he has not run since 2016 but in his last 2 runs he was 3rd and 2nd to top horses Lough Inch and Done A Runner.

Selection: Midnight Cowboy/Just Cause                        Alternative: Kashmir Peak


2.30 PPORA Club Members Conditions – 17 entries

A reasonable entry of 17 for this contest. Consigliere arrives here in good form having won on his latest outing at Kimble last month when defeating his sole rival George Fernbeck by 65 lengths. Previously he was 2nd at Ampton in the Men’s open when going down by 2 lengths to Midnight Cowboy. Mr Syntax won on his latest appearance when defeating a possible rival today Can Mestret by 8 lengths at Higham earlier this month. Can Mestret is a previous hunter chase winner at this course and has also scored over the point to point course here. Toby Maguire arrives here looking for a hat trick. He has won his maiden and restricted, the restricted win coming at Andoversford earlier this month when beating Light Flicker by ½ a length. He has had only six starts so will lack the experience of many of his rivals. Virgo The First was 2nd at Horseheath in March when beaten a length by Welsh’s Castle but he pulled up on his next appearance at High Easter last weekend so may not turn out here. Helpston is well into the veteran stage now but he is a course winner here under rules when trained by Pam Sly. He is making his seasonal reappearance today. Dido pulled up on his last run at Brafield On The Green and may prefer conditions under foot firmer than he may encounter today. Clenagh Castle was a two-time scorer last season in the West Country, a maiden and a restricted but got no further than the first fence for his new rider at Higham two weeks ago. Willflywontsink won on her last outing at High Easter in March when beating Shamat by a short head, she’s improving and could run into a place. Shouldavboughtgold makes his pointing debut. He hasn’t run since November 2015 when he was 6th in a 3 mile Warwick hurdle. Consigliere comes here in good form and he is our selection ahead of recent Higham scorer Mr Syntax.

Selection: Consigliere                          Alternative: Mr Syntax


3.00 Restricted – 8 entries

Back to pitiful entry numbers I’m afraid.  Baxxos p.u. when t.o. on his only run in 2017 and will be best watched here. Bengo from the well known Wright yard has not run in Points since 2016 and then won the Horseheath Maiden in Feb but pu on next 2 runs and is another to just watch. The one to note is Chosen Rose, with a 7lb allowance, from the Pennock yard won the Ampton Maiden in March staying on well and will have come on from that, so watch the market and if favoured by ground and track should be at least placed.  A 5th run this season for Full Batten, an ex Gordon Elliott horse who had seven outings in Ireland and was 2nd twice in Hurdles then ran six times in Points was 3rd on three occasions, the last time out was in late August at Sligo – won the short Maiden at Cottenham in Dec under Gina Andrews but did not impress at 3m on the same track later in Dec then 30l 4th at Higham in Jan and pu at Penshurst but came 4L 3rd to Hurricane Vic in the recent Higham Restricted under Gina Andrews beating Somme Boy into 5th by 4l and Lords Park Star into 6th by 20L -  improving but is it enough for a place here? Golans Choice from Yorkshire ran 30L 3rd to Refusal in the recent Charm Park Restricted and will probably struggle here.  Somme Boy another from the Pennock yard beat Kev the Car (Maiden winner at Higham in Jan) to win a Dec 2016 Cottenham short Maiden on good/firm ground but has struggled in subsequent Restricteds. Muchadoaboutnothing from the Ward yard ran 8l 2nd in a 3 horse Restricted behind Beat the Index at Higham on good to firm ground in April 2017 and this season refused to race at Ampton but ran a belter to be just touched out by Hurrican Vic at Higham beating 3 of this race’s competitors and will have come on from this run.

Selection: Chosen Rose                      Alternative: Muchadoaboutnothing


3.30 Mens Open – 10 entries

Master Workman and Broken Eagle could meet once again following their clash in the mixed open at Higham two weeks ago, where Broken Eagle, the short-priced favourite was brought down to earth by the fall of Kriss William, thus allowing Master Workman the opportunity to lead the only other runner, Sand Blast, throughout for a comfortable victory.  This was in similar fashion to Broken Eagle’s only other run this season, when his only opponent pulled up after five fences and thus had a solo school around Higham in January.  As with Broken Eagle, Master Workman also prefers a sound surface, and tends to find his form at this time of the year and also has an affinity with Fakenham, therefore his first two outings this season can be ignored.  If Broken Eagle does not take up this engagement, it is possible his stable companion Pride Of Parish could run.  The winner of the novice hunter chase around this course at Easter last year, Pride Of Parish made a return trip to the course for his reappearance this season in the hunter chase in February.  Travelling with consummate ease, Pride Of Parish got in too close to the fence in front of the stands and was duly punished.  A week later he turned out in a mixed open at Barbury, but was well beaten by Cousin Pete, finishing over 40 lengths behind the winner.  Following a month off the track he dropped down in trip to win the men’s open at Kimble on Easter Saturday, beating Toowoomba by 12 lengths.  Midnight Cowboy made a winning start for his connections when beating Consigliere in the men’s open at Ampton last month.  A couple of weeks later he went to Ascot for a 2 mile 5 furlong hunter chase, but made a couple of bad mistakes, and after losing his position could only manage a distant 3rd behind Marinero.  A return to the pointing field at Higham, saw him held up well off the pace and although closing fast could not catch the long time leader Ballybough Gorta.

Selection: Master Workman                               Alternative: Broken Eagle/Pride Of Parish


4.00 Ladies Open – 13 entries

Several of these have shown their best form on fast ground and with fine weather forecast through the weekend they may well get it.  Blue Mountain Boy won nicely at Horseheath finishing a couple of lengths ahead of Goodnight Vienna with Oh Toodles a further length back in 3rd. He was the only finisher last time out at Ampton. A young horse with the potential to improve, he seems flexible w.r.t going and has a great chance. Can Mestret has a great record at this track winning a point here in 2014, winning and placing in 2m 5f hunter chases in 2015 and placing in a 3m hunter chase. He has been a bit below his best this season but clearly prefers fast ground and should relish this and should be right there. Storm Lantern has shown arguably the best form of all of these this season including when beaten a neck by Monsieur Gibraltar at Larkhill and finishing only two lengths behind Popaway at Brafield in March. On the right ground he would have every chance but he hasn’t raced on ground faster than good for several seasons and conditions here may not suit.  The two Turner horses both go well on fast ground - Sa Kaldoun winning at Higham and Northaw and Kriss William at Higham and Peper Harow last season. Both have put in decent performances this season: Sa Kaldoun finishing only 3l behind Top Smart at Horseheath last month whilst Kriss William ran well at High Easter in March but fell at the 1st at Higham two weeks ago.  Neither of them should be too far away. Former Alan King inmate Sedgemoor Express made a pleasing return to the track after 2 1/2 years on the sidelines finishing only 4l behind the talented Dabinett Moon at Kimble last month. That was on soft ground and he made find the going here too fast. ex-Dan Skelton Sand Blast has place chances if the race cuts up.  If the going is suitable for Storm Lantern then he has a strong chance but we think it likely that it will be on the fast side of good which will favour the Ellis/Andrews and Turner horses.  Given connections its unlikely that both Blue Mountain Boy and Can Mestret will run in this race (Can Mestret has an entry in the Conditions) - whichever of those two runs would be our pick followed by whichever horse the Turners run.

Selection: Can Mestret/Blue Mountain Boy                  Alternative: Sa Kaldoun/Kriss William


4.30 Open Maiden – 13 entries

A slightly disappointing entry of only 13 maidens but despite this as always we will concentrate on the up and coming youngsters and those with limited success in other disciplines.  Anglesea Lace would be the selection from the Andrew Pennock yard. With five runs under his belt in Ireland he has yet to set the world on fire although performed encouragingly when finishing in third place in a Maiden at Brafield earlier this season.  Holy Street is progressing nicely, last time out coming 6 lengths second to Rollingontheriver at Horseheath. Dale Peter’s Mine’s a Pint ran encouragingly, if a little greenly, when coming 3rd in a Maiden at Hackwood Park but subsequently let supporters down when falling at the first fence at Higham when fancied to do well. If learning from the experience should do well in this modest race. Another of considerable interest is the recent purchase which has just joined the Peter’s yard, namely The Unmentionable last seen running in an Irish Maiden as recently as March when a respectable 4th of 10.  Kalangadoo jumped well at High Easter in his first run for connections and despite coming down three from home will have come on for the experience. Finally of those we specifically wish to consider Racing Eagle looks the pick. A close second in a driving finish at the last High Easter meeting it was a hard race and we feel that this one is unlikely to run however if turning out again connections must be confident that the horse is ready for the race and this could be an indicator.  As with all Maidens we strongly recommend viewing the runners in the paddock but our selection, despite the previous first fence mishap will be Mine’s a Pint with Kalangadoo as our reserve.

Selection: Mine’s a Pint                      Alternative:  Kalangadoo


5.00 Intermediate – 8 entries

This is an additional race to the meeting and is a Connolly's Red Mills Intermediate Race with the first four finishers qualifying for the Connolly's Red Mills Hunter Chase Final at Cheltenham on Friday May 4th. Clenagh Castle had decent form in the West Country when ridden by Will Biddick. He fell at the first at Higham two weeks ago in a Novice Riders race so form is difficult to access. Haut Bages won a Restricted at High Easter last season. Most recent run was at Ampton in March when was 2nd to Summer Sound in an Intermediate race. Kalabaloo has had three outings this season and has shown improvement on each run culminating with winning a Restricted at Ampton in March, has the benefit of Gina Andrews on board. Caroline Fryer has two entered in this race Midnight Bliss who has shown good form this year winning the Restricted at High Easter last weekend in a hard race and Kingston College. We would doubt that Midnight Bliss would appear this weekend and Kingston College will need to improve considerably to win this race. Mason Dixon has had three outings in Wales this year winning two and 2nd in the other. It’s a long way from Glamorgan to Norfolk but if travelling you could expect a good performance here. Steeles Terrace from the Andrew Pennock yard won a Maiden at Ampton and a Restricted at Higham in January. Well worth noting the betting here as this horse is owned by a successful team. Virgo the First was 2nd to Welsh Castle at the Puckeridge meeting at Horseheath and pulled up at High Easter last weekend. Much will depend on how he came out of that race and whether he will make a rapid reappearance.

Selection: Mason Dixon                       Alternative:  Steeles Terrace